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What Is Grape Seed Extract?
Grape seed extract is derived from the seeds of Vitis vinifera, which is the wild grape variety that serves as the origin of most wine grapes. This species is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and Southwestern Asia near the Caspian Sea. The use of this grape variety in winemaking and medicine began near the Caspian Sea and gradually spread to the west.
Manufacturers produce grape seed extract by pressing grape seeds to extract the oil, which is then dried and ground into a concentrated extract that is formed into a liquid, tablet, or capsule. While grape seed extract contains several nutrients, there is insufficient evidence to determine if it offers short-term or long-term health benefits.
How to Use Grape Seed Extract?
It’s important to consult your doctor before taking grape seed extract and to confirm the appropriate dosage. It’s worth noting that supplements are not held to the same regulatory standards as over-the-counter medications, and research has found that many supplement claims lack scientific backing.
Can reduce blood pressure
Multiple studies have investigated the effects of GSE on individuals with high blood pressure.
A review of 16 studies involving 810 people with high blood pressure or at risk of it found that taking GSE daily in doses ranging from 100-2000 mg led to significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were reduced by 6.08 mmHg and 2.8 mmHg, respectively. The most significant improvements were observed in individuals under 50 years old with obesity or metabolic disorders. Notably, lower doses of GSE (100-800 mg daily for 8-16 weeks) showed more promising results than a single dose of 800 mg or higher (4Trusted Source).
In another study involving 29 adults with high blood pressure, taking 300 mg of GSE daily for 6 weeks resulted in a 5.6% reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 4.7% reduction in diastolic blood pressure (5). However, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine if it is safe to take GSE and to determine the appropriate dosage.
Can improve blood flow
GSE may have potential benefits for improving blood flow, according to several studies.
One study on healthy postmenopausal women found that taking 400 mg of GSE for 8 weeks had blood-thinning effects, potentially lowering the risk of blood clots (6Trusted Source).
Another study on young women showed that taking a single 400-mg dose of proanthocyanidin from GSE and sitting for 6 hours resulted in a 70% reduction in leg swelling and edema compared to not taking GSE. In the same study, women who took a daily dose of 133 mg of proanthocyanidins from GSE for 14 days experienced 40% less leg swelling after sitting for 6 hours.
Could reduce oxidative damage
An increase in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels is a known risk factor for heart disease. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is a significant contributor to this risk, and is a major factor in the development of atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in arteries.
Several animal studies have found that taking GSE supplements can reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol caused by high-fat diets. Similarly, some human studies have shown similar results. For instance, in one study, eight healthy people who consumed a high-fat meal and took 300 mg of GSE experienced less oxidation of fats in their blood compared to those who did not take GSE. Another study found that taking 400 mg of GSE reduced oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by 13.9% in 61 healthy adults. However, not all studies have been able to replicate these results.
Moreover, a study involving 87 people undergoing heart surgery found that taking 400 mg of GSE a day before the procedure significantly reduced oxidative stress. This suggests that GSE may protect against further heart damage.
May improve collagen levels and bone strength
Consuming more flavonoids may enhance collagen synthesis and bone formation, and GSE, which is rich in flavonoids, may contribute to improved bone strength and density. Studies in animals have demonstrated that incorporating GSE into low-calcium, standard, or high-calcium diets can increase bone density, mineral content, and bone strength. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that triggers severe inflammation and bone and joint destruction. Animal studies indicate that GSE may prevent bone destruction in inflammatory autoimmune arthritis. GSE also improved collagen levels and reduced cartilage loss, significantly decreasing pain, bony spurs, and joint damage in osteoarthritic mice. However, no human studies have been conducted despite encouraging results from animal studies.
Supports your brain as it ages
It is believed that the combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in flavonoids may delay or prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. GSE contains gallic acid, which has been shown in animal and lab studies to inhibit the formation of fibrils by beta-amyloid peptides, characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
Animal studies have demonstrated that GSE may prevent memory loss, improve cognitive status and brain antioxidant levels, and reduce brain lesions and amyloid clusters . In one study, 111 healthy older adults who took 150 mg of GSE daily for 12 weeks showed improvements in attention, language, and both immediate and delayed memory.
However, there is a lack of human studies on the use of GSE in adults with preexisting memory or cognitive deficits.